The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Light rye bread from Hamalman's "Bread" (P 197)

hornedfox's picture

Light rye bread from Hamalman's "Bread" (P 197)

I have decided to give the Light Rye Bread a go today. I have just made the sour dough 4.8 oz of Dark Rye (thats all I have), 3.8 oz of water, 2 tsp starter.

Now this seems a bit thick to me (not that I speak from any great experience. Anyone else followed this formula able to help? Does the dark rye make a difference over the medium rye asked for in the recipe? So many questions so little time




Polish Babka's picture
Polish Babka

Hi Ian,

I made the three stage 80% rye two days ago and I also had only dark rye flour.

It came out good. The dark flour will absorb even more water than medium rye. So it was thicker for me too but I didn't add more water.

At the end it tasted good. In my opinion you should be ok with the dark flour.

I can't find medium rye flour anywhere, not even online. Bob's Red Mill makes only light and dark. Light according to Hamelman is not good for bread baking.

Happy baking.


dabrownman's picture

why Hamelman thinks light rye isn't good for bread making.  Maybe someone could explain the thinking behind it.  Lots of folks seem to make nice bread with it including me - at least I though it was decent at any rate.  I think that would be akin to saying white flour isn't good for making bread?  Doesn't make any sense to me but who am I to quibble with a master baker :-)

A lady at the Bosch store told me that soft white wheat wasn't good at making bread too - and I think she is wrong about that too.  I wonder where folks come up with these things?

isand66's picture

You can buy Medium Rye from King Arthur Flour on line.  They also have Dark Rye or Pumpernickle Flour.

I have never used light rye, but have use White Rye...not sure if that is the same thing, but I assure you it is fine for baking but not if you want a deep rye flavor.

breaducation's picture

While I haven't made that specific Hammelman bread, I have made quite a few ryes and I've found that the rye starter is almost always thicker than the standard 100% liquid wheat starter. The rye starter usually resembles a thick paste which is very very sticky.

This seems like it should be the case with the light rye formula as well given that the starter is at 80% hydration and knowing that rye absorbs a ton of water. It sounds like you have got it right.

Don't expect the rye starter to have risen much at all by the time it is ripe. Rye starters don't really rise, they just sort of become aerated.

As for the flours, I don't think it will make too much difference. I think medium and dark rye are fairly similar. Dark rye is like the equivilent of whole wheat and medium rye is more like a type 85.  It's just a bit lighter. Also, since the formula only has 15% rye in it total I don't expect you will see much difference at all. I would just avoid using light or white rye.


hornedfox's picture

Pleased with the results


whoops's picture

That looks lovely! I can almost taste it all the way here in California!